Staindrop Academy, Darlington
School stories

Staindrop Academy, Darlington

Staindrop Academy, Darlington

Mark Phelps, Assistant Headteacher at Staindrop Academy, shares how tutoring with NTP Tuition Partner Teaching Personnel is benefitting their students.


Staindrop Academy is a small, rural, secondary school. We have just under 370 students in the school with 21% of those students eligible for Free School Meals and 15% with SEND.


School closures and remote learning has meant that some students have found it harder to engage with their learning after a long period away from school. For others, it has affected their mental wellbeing. Because of this, we have designed an Enhancement Programme that provides both academic and pastoral support for those students affected to help them get back on track. One example of this provision is the running of after-school sessions that recap work covered during lockdown, with transport being arranged so students can get home. It was important for us to ensure every student receives the same high-quality education, regardless of their circumstances.

Having said that, with chaos comes opportunity. Many of our students have thrived during this period; it has encouraged them to be more independent and self-regulating. As a school, we have been able to examine the benefits of home learning, helping us re-evaluate how we run interventions and enhance our teaching and learning skills, as well as using online platforms to support our independent learners. Furthermore, it has also led to stronger primary links and parental communication, and encouraged more collaboration with other schools in our Trust (Advance Learning Partnership).

The biggest reservation we had was about the quality of tutors. However, we have been actively involved in the process of selecting the tutors and we are very happy with the staff that have been involved.


We have used tutoring once before, where two individuals (who had previously worked in our Trust) delivered small-group interventions in English and Maths. It was highly successful, but cost was the main reason we were unable to continue.

We heard about the NTP through the educational news and via the Department for Education (DfE). We thought it was a fantastic opportunity for key groups of our students, particularly our Year 10s. The biggest reservation we had was about the quality of tutors. However, we have been actively involved in the process of selecting the tutors and we are very happy with the staff that have been involved. Our aim is to make sure all students in our school fulfil their potential and exceed. We opted for tuition in Maths and English, as these are key to progressing in all subjects.

Teaching Personnel

Our NTP Tuition Partner is Teaching Personnel, who have been delivering in our school since Easter. They are delivering tuition in person, as we felt our students had had enough computer interaction. The buy-in from students is better this way, and it is easier to facilitate and ask questions.

Sessions run for our current Year 10s for three hours on a Tuesday afternoon. The students are on a carousel system. They come off their normal timetable, but it’s rotating so that they only miss one out of six lessons. So in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t have a heavy impact on their regular timetable, but what it does do is ensure that every single student attends, because we know just how beneficial it is for those students involved.

Teaching Personnel has commented on how high attendance is and we’ve seen high engagement in lessons. I’ve dropped in on a few of the sessions just to see how the students are engaging, and we are very impressed with the quality of the tutors involved and the positive attitude from the students.


Assessments will be conducted this half-term to make comparison between those students who have received tutoring, and those that haven’t and look at how they’ve moved forward. But to date, the students have definitely benefited from the programme.

The English tutoring has helped me know how to answer extended questions and be more confident in doing so. I think the lessons help with specific skills and this has benefited me a lot.”

— Rhys, Year 10

The tutoring sessions have helped me improve my confidence with certain topics in Maths. The tutor helped me by going through each step thoroughly and made sure I understood it before moving on.”

— Annabel, Year 10

The Maths tutoring sessions have helped me learn more and cover parts which I didn’t know so much to get better. It has improved my self-confidence especially on topics like quadratic graphs. The lessons have been of a high standard throughout the programme.”

— Stephen, Year 10


My advice to other schools thinking about accessing the NTP is to be active in the process. It is making sure that you get the right tutors, and that the school and the students buy into the programme; if that is the case, then I’m sure it is going to be an excellent programme for them – just like it is for us.

Staindrop Academy is accessing tutoring with NTP Tuition Partner Teaching Personnel.

Schools can still access subsidised tutoring for the summer and remainder of the academic year. Find out more here.

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